Tips And Tricks To Achieve a Perfect Tan At Home

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When I was in high school I would be at the beach every weekend—and no, that’s not an exaggeration. Whether it was with friends or family, once Friday came I was on my way. So you can say that for 18 years, I had a pretty decent tan—that was until I came to Erie. I never really noticed how pale I was until about a year ago when I saw a Christmas picture of me and I was so pale, it looked like the flash bounced off off my face.

 

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I know this is a shallow thing to say, but I felt very insecure. Personally, because my skin is olive-toned, being tanned makes me look healthier. Whenever I get paler, my skin turns into a very pale yellow tone that makes me look sickly—not cute. As someone who is terrified of sun damage, I would never consider going into a tanning bed. So I was left with three options: 1) I could go get a spray tan, 2) I could try to use a self-tanner, and 3) I could just stay pale. I didn't care much for option 3 and I didn't want to end up like Ross in FRIENDS, which drove me to buy my first self-tanner at 2 am Junior year. Since then, I’ve been tanning at least once a month and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Here are a few tips and tricks I've picked up along the way:

 

Prep
  • First, make sure you exfoliate. By exfoliating, you’re getting rid of the dead skin cells and making sure the product goes on smoother.
  • This one ties together with the first tip, and that is to make sure you’ve shaved your legs, arms, anywhere you typically shave. This is because if you haven's shaved in a while or your hair grows really fast, it can leave marks where your self-tanner didn't apply correctly.
  • Once you've exfoliated, shaved and showered, make sure your skin is completely dry before you apply the self-tanner. 
  • Apply lotion or vaseline to any dry areas. I usually try to put lotion on my ankles, knees, elbows and knuckles so that when I apply the product, it doesn't . I've found this has helped my tan look fake.

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Application
  • First off, for the love of anything sacred, use a self-tanning mitt. I made this mistake one time when I was in a hurry and my hands were a mess.
  • Don't be afraid to try out different self-tanners from different price ranges. In my experience, I've bought self-tanners ranging from drugstore prices to Oh-My-God-I-Cant-Believe-I-Spent-This-Much-Money prices. Right now I'm really enjoying using Bondi Sands, an Australian brand that gives me the most natural, golden tan that has people complimenting me left and right—and did I mention it's also streak free? It's so good, I got my friends hooked on it! I personally alternate between the shades Dark and Ultra Dark—depending on how tan I want to look—and every time it makes me feel so confident. I love it! Plus, since it dries pretty fast, I can even apply it in the morning and by the time I get back from class I just rinse it off and go about my day.
  • I like to start from bottom to top, i.e. start with my calves, then my thighs and so forth. By working on one body part at a time it helps me rub the self-tanner in a more even way.
  • Make sure you have someone to help you out when you can't reach your back or any other areas you might need help with
  • When it comes to my feet and hands, I don't apply any additional product to the mitt, I just use whatever is left from a previous application and apply it. This way, my hands and feet don't look super dark—which looks really weird and is always a sign of fake tanning—instead, it gives them a natural ombre effect.

 

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Aftercare
  • Keep the self-tanner on for at least 6 hours. I know this might scare you at first, especially when you can see the self-tanner developing and getting darker, but the longer you leave it on the darker it will get. So if you're a little intimidated by this process at first, you can leave it on as long as you feel comfortable doing so.
  • MOISTURIZE. I cannot stress this enough. If you want your tan to last longer and fade in a more natural way, make sure you moisturize. This will prevent annoying things like dry patches and unevenness. Right now I'm experimenting with dry oils and I'm really enjoying using the Bondi Sands Liquid Gold Dry-Oil, which I usually apply before going to bed so that when I wake up, my skin is looking hydrated and amazing. 
  • More exfoliation. However, this time is so for when you want to apply self-tanner next time, it goes on smoother. don't be too harsh with it, though, you don't wanna cause any damage to your skin. that being said, I usually rub for a little longer on my ankles, knees and elbows.

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And that's it! I hope you learned something today and give self-tanning a try and just in time for summer too!

 

 

All images courtesy of Google Images